written by Maurice Cardinal … originally published Sept 19, 2019
All we have today is our credibility and reputation. Trust, means you are respected. Respect however, means different things to different age groups.
We’ve shifted our focus quite radically at International Artist Day.
Demographics is now incredibly important respective of artist success.
It would be foolish to not change in this volatile art market. Artists who hesitate or stay locked into an old way of thinking will have an increasingly difficult time finding buyers–if they can at all.
Art companies and orgs, including galleries that drag their heels will also get left behind–it’s happening already.
Every art market, including and especially NFT, is struggling for one main reason. Dilution.
There are now hundreds of different styles of art, not thirty, and tens of thousands, maybe millions more artists creating art. Unfortunately, the number of art buyers hasn’t kept pace, and never will. Competition is brutal across every genre. Artists buying from artists is theoretically promising, but it’s not practical or sustainable for professional fulltime artists who have real world bills to pay every month.
Today, if an artist doesn’t accurately and quickly identify their niche and engage with these new fractionalized groups, they will wear themselves out searching in countless haystacks for art buyers.
We’re all tired of clickbait jubilation proclaiming, “I just sold out my entire collection – THANK YOU THANK THANK YOU” and when you look you discover the artist sold ten images for $49.95 TOTAL. Fool me once … Today, if I don’t see the amount in the post, I assume I’m being manipulated, and you just lost all your credibility. Once I’m gone, I never return because there are so many other transparent artists wooing me as a collector.
Several months ago, I was curious to see how NFT would change fine art. Today I know. It hasn’t changed it much, if at all, and it won’t change it substantially at least for a very long time–maybe a generation. High pressure hucksters however are still trying to convince the gullible that commercial art is fine art. It’s not.
I was a full-time commercial artist before a fine artist. Both styles have very specific definitions, and so far, NFT hasn’t done anything substantial to impact the mainstream, but I do recognize that it could, someday.
It’s the exact same misleading argument geeks made when MP3 appeared. MP3 quality SUCKED compared to CDs, and especially when A/B’d against vinyl, but we ate MP3 up because it was CONVENIENT. I still listen to vinyl for a reason–quality.
An easy way to differentiate between commercial and fine art is to consider the impact it has on you when you look or listen to it. Your reaction has nothing to do with intellectualism or art history. It’s more allegorical and not something you learn, but it does develop over time as you mature. Commercial art is incredible to look at because it makes you FEEL good, or bad, or something. However, if it doesn’t impact you at an unconscious level it doesn’t reach you emotionally, which is the dominion of fine art.
There is a humanistic difference between feelings and emotions that most people, artists included, do not recognize. It’s why the fine art delineation is open to interpretation. Commercial art answers a question consciously and directly, while fine art causes you to unconsciously reach for an explanation into your unspoken private world that is always hidden from you. If you don’t know or appreciate the difference between feelings and emotions, it’s likely that you are a commercial artist, which is absolutely and more than acceptable with some artists, and as NFT is teaching us, by some collectors too.
If you, like everyone else, thought that selling art was hard in 2019, it is exponentially harder today.
Demographics now play a larger role than ever in finding your market. If you’re an artist between thirty and sixty who has real world experience, statistically you have a better chance than everyone else in finding success in today’s volatile art environment–You know how to make great art, and how to sell it.
NFT Darlings & Young Gunslingers
If you are a young artist, and there are always exceptions like Justin Aversano and FEWOCiOUS–aka Victor Langlois, most experienced collectors won’t trust or take you seriously. It’s fact, and you know it. Young people are experimental and reckless–it’s your charm and strength, but also your Achilles heel. Don’t believe the hype about how easy it is to succeed as an artist–NFT isn’t spelled LOTTERY. Yes, young artists sometimes make insanely great art, but it’s clear by watching online that most young artists simply don’t know yet how to sell it. It’s not a crime, or a big deal, just a fact.
Exceptionally smart young artists learn quickly though, when they choose, and especially when they hook up with an experienced art promoter and marketer. Young artists have the greatest chance at LONG SHOT lottery-like success, but you need a lot of luck to do it.
It’s naive to think that when you CUT OUT middleman galleries, that art sells itself by magic. Middle-aged experienced artists reading this smile because they remember when they were young. They also smile because they know that the internet has a memory you can’t outrun, so when you unfairly criticize experienced artists who built the road for you, remember that art collectors who matter are taking notes.
As importantly today, experienced artists also know they need volunteers like young artists on their Discord servers to help them sell their art in Huck Finn fashion. Smart young artists are successful because they don’t bite the hand that feeds them–usually 😉. In case you don’t know, independent art residencies are still a thing where experienced artists teach young artists how art works. If you’re smart, a young artist can learn as much about marketing as you do about art technique and style.
Yes, Discord does all this and more, for FREE! Unfortunately, it will take you a lifetime to piece it all together. Most young artists don’t have time to create art, hang out on Discord, and work a real job, or two. Most young artists unfortunately, don’t even develop a business plan/roadmap for their career until they reach middle age. That’s also fact.
Don’t believe the hype …
Here’s some FACT to back up the FACT about how much money is really being made by collectors and NFT traders:
Almost any artist can produce a few great art pieces, but it’s not near enough these days. You need to prove that you’re in it for the long haul, and if you can’t, your value and credibility will reflect it.
OG OGs – The Over Sixties Set
If you’re older than sixty, and even if you have substantial marketing experience, statistically, odds are that you will not change your thinking–also fact. Older artists will still have access to some of their past patrons, but the challenge is that it is very easy for a collector, young or old, to look at all the incredible artists evolving to digital. Legacy collectors will of course still purchase your analog traditional pieces, but they will also be investing in the new wave of digital art. Every crypto they spend elsewhere is a dollar you don’t get. Art buyers have budgets and usually do not have infinite funds. Quite often their art purchases are tax related, and once they reach their annual limit, it’s the end of the road until next year.
The biggest challenge for artists over sixty is their refusal to change how they think, and today, if you’re not flexible or excited to evolve, it will impact your credibility. Angry old artist is not a good look. The great news is that if you do decide to get into the NFT game and master it, you’ll be revered as an OG–the highest accolade and level of respect possible.
Quite often, an older artist simply needs someone to help them navigate the complexity of a new art ecosystem. Their technique and creativity are often exceptional, but they don’t know how to adapt. Wanting to change is often the biggest challenge. Once you’re on the other side though, OGs are proving to be formidable competitors.
Change is the Magic Elixir
International Artist Day changed rapidly, and radically, and we continue to change daily.
To start, earlier this year we changed our NAME to iADX365 to more accurately represent the number of days we operate. When we launched in 2004, we celebrated one day per year on October 25th. Today however, there are not enough days in the year to keep up, hence 365!
Our brand today is; iADX365.com – Home of International Artist Day
We still do the exact same thing for artists we’ve done for almost two decades;
“International Artist Day celebrates the contribution artists make to society.”
We do it freely, and without pay, plus we cover our costs personally.
“We”, is artist and International Artist Day founder Chris McClure (my iAD business partner), and me, Maurice, plus a small group of very dedicated volunteers and occasional corporate sponsors who cover expenses for special events. That was then, between 2004 and 2019. This is now, mid-pandemic meltdown. You stagnate today. You die.
Today, we don’t just help artists and art organizations produce live art shows and events around the world. We now spend a large part of our time helping full-time pro emerging artists increase their visibility and value. It could be directly in the NFT market like we did with now famous NFT photographer Justin Aversano, or by teaching traditional analog or digital artists how to leverage NFT momentum to increase their visibility and credibility in the real world. When your visibility and credibility go up, so does the value of your art. It doesn’t matter where, or to whom you sell your art. Today, credibility, based on an artist’s, image is the differentiating factor. If art collectors don’t know you, they can’t buy you. If they don’t know your face, you lack trust and credibility–Banksy is an exception not the rule, so act accordingly.
Your job is to get noticed in a saturated market.
An art marketer’s job is to help you rise above the noise.
By happenstance, it turns out that we now work mostly with professional fulltime artists–the 30-60 years demographic. We are however also excited to advise younger and older artists when they display extraordinary vision.
The reason is that this demographic has already developed a style or styles, plus they have real world marketing and promotion experience. It is this age group that is killing it in NFT land, and, as the space develops, they will continue to dominate. Why? Because they took it. Experienced artists have a full complement of traditional art skills, from technique, to marketing, and promotion, which means all they had to learn was the NFT part. Plus, they also had contacts, and funds to execute their ideas. Maybe the most important element though is that they are already credible, and trusted, the exact type of artist that makes legacy or NFT art collectors feel comfortable.
Young and old inexperienced part-time artists alike have recently had to face the painful reality that art does not sell itself. It takes a lot of work, and money, and now volunteers too. It’s what Discord groups are all about. Artists now need to know how to attract and manage volunteers to have them do all the heavy promotional work. It’s not as easy as it looks.
We’ve been marketing NFT CryptoArt since 2018 and have been around this block a number of times. Literally, we’ve helped the best of them launch incredibly successful art careers. One artist we recently promoted through this site and on social media, Justin Aversano, has moved into the million-dollar range for primary and secondary sales in less than a year. PLUS, and this is historic, Justin now sells at Christie’s. It didn’t happen by accident, or luck.
Today, selling art is based on a complex set of NEW MARKETING FORMULAS that artists like Justin develop.
It’s a cumulative process of combining the old with the new.
Basically, you take everything you already know about making and selling art, and wrap it in technology to leverage community.
It’s why you see so many fulltime pro artists doing so well recently, traditional photographers, painters, and musicians included.
They already know the basics and use NFT as a supplemental tool, not necessarily the main course.
I recently also helped an amateur part time abstract canvas painter leverage NFT to increase the value of their physical canvas work by 450%.
The artist didn’t sell one digital image, but their canvas art increased in value by 450% simply because they launched a well-designed NFT campaign. It increased their visibility and professional credibility. Their work that previously sold for $650 in 2019, now sells for $3,000. It’s a formula.
Think about that for a second.
But don’t think too long because the more artists who learn and adopt these strategies and formulas, the faster they capture the market, a market that is smaller than most artists often think.
The point is, professional art promoters and marketers can help you with a pure-play Digital NFT campaign, or simply show you how to sell the art you’ve always produced at a higher value.
You can of course also keep doing what you’ve always done as long as you’re prepared to watch your market shrink to a shadow cast, but we don’t recommend it.
Yes, it’s complex, but once you know how the pros do it, it opens a whole new world.
The lesson here is that ALL AGE GROUPS can succeed as artists in NFT as long as you keep a very open mind and act fast–speed is critical.